Staff Correspondent

Activists feel water tax could go up with the deal

Citizens have not been consulted, say activists

MYSORE: The opposition to Mysore City Corporation’s “unilateral decision” to handover operation and maintenance of the drinking water supply system in Mysore to the Jamshedpur Utilities and Services Company (JUSCO), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tata Steel, is gaining momentum.

After opposing the deal at a recent meeting at the MCC, activists belonging to various organisations on Saturday took to the streets to urge the authorities to scrap the agreement reached between the MCC and JUSCO. On Saturday, they staged a dharna in front of the JUSCO office on N.S. Road here, opposing the deal. Members of the Association of Concerned and Informed Citizens of Mysore (ACICM); the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike and some Stree Shakti groups, who staged the agitation, expressed apprehension that water tax would substantially go up because of the deal.

Demand for withdrawal

Addressing the protesters, M. Lakshmana of ACICM demanded that the agreement should be withdrawn immediately in the interest of the people and that the Vani Vilas Water Works (VVWW), a division of MCC established during the time of the Mysore kings, should be allowed to continue distribution and management of drinking water. “Any project related to JNNURM should get the public’s nod, which has not happened in the case of MCC’s deal with JUSCO. The Commissioner of MCC had agreed to the deal without consulting the citizens or debating it in the MCC Council,” he alleged.

Mr. Lakshmana stated, in a letter to the MCC Commissioner, that JUSCO’s fee towards operation and maintenance of drinking water is about Rs. 13 crore a year, which, according to him, could not be borne by the people of Mysore. In fact, the cost incurred by MCC for distributing water is only about Rs. 2.5 crore a year, he said.

Meanwhile, the public of Mysore have been asked to submit their opinions and objections concerning the agreement.

The DPR of this project has been uploaded on the website http://www.jnnurm.mysore

Recently, the Mysore Grahakara Parishat met H. Honne Gowda, executive engineer and M. Ramachandraiah, assistant executive engineer of VVWW and requested them to put the contract signed on the internet.